The U.S. government announced this week that the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale (Balaenoptera edeni) is endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
In September 2014, the Natural Resources Defense Council petitioned the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service to list the Gulf of Mexico population of Bryde’s whales as an endangered species.
According to a new, final rule issued April 15th:
“We have completed a status review of the GOMx Bryde’s whale in response to a petition submitted by the Natural Resource Defense Council. After reviewing the best scientific and commercial data available, including the status review and comments received on the proposed rule, we have determined that the GOMx Bryde’s whale is a subspecies of B. edeni and warrants listing as endangered. The GOMx Bryde’s whale is presently in danger of extinction (i.e., meets the definition of endangered) throughout all of its range due to its small population size and restricted range, and the threats of energy exploration, development and production, oil spills and oil spill response, vessel collision, fishing gear entanglement, and anthropogenic noise. Critical habitat is not determinable at this time but will be proposed in a future rulemaking.”
The final rule will go into effect on May 15th, 2019.
(Photo credit: NMFS/NOAA)